There’s no denying it. My body doesn’t work quite right.
I have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome.The very name implies not only is there something wrong with me, but that it all has to do with a specific part of my body.
That’s partially true.
I am anovulatory, meaning I don’t release an egg every month. My menstrual cycles are wacky. Sometimes I will bleed for weeks at a time. Other times I will go months without a period. As one would expect, the end result of this is infertility.
To my doctors, PCOS is all about fixing my ovaries.They have helped regulate my cycles and at times given me medications to help me get pregnant.
Unfortunately, this also happens to be all they have done..
It seems as if my doctors don’t really see me as a whole person. Instead, they focus on my ovaries … my broken ovaries that don’t work quite right.
But don’t they know? PCOS is so much more than my ovaries.
PCOS is owning an arsenal of hair removers and having a beautician who specializes in waxing for your best friend.
There must be a more than a hundred pair of tweezers in my make-up kit, purse, and car. The shelves of my bathroom are lined with boxes and bottles of hair removal creams. I should have bought stock in a razor company long ago. I buy those in bulk.
Laser removal. Waxing. Using over-the-counter creams. If there is a method of hair removal, I’ve probably tried it at least once … well, except for the Epilady. I didn’t try that one, mostly because I’m not much on self-inflicted pain.
PCOS is not only about my ovaries.
PCOS is anxiety.
It always strikes without warning, waking me in the dead of night or overwhelming me as I cook dinner for my family. Waves of cold and hot sensations course through my body, turning a random Tuesday morning errand into something far more traumatic.
Before it is over, I will experience an intense feeling of dread, so thick I can feel it pressing upon my chest and squeezing my head into a vise. Sometimes I take to my bed, piling blankets on top of my body as I try to control the shaking.
I swear I must be dying, but it’s just the PCOS attacking my body in a different way.
PCOS is not just about my ovaries.
PCOS is wondering what I can eat.
Doctors say the same thing: “Lose the extra weight.” But all of us with PCOS know this is much easier said than done.
Experts have a thousand and one suggestions for achieving those weight-loss goals, including everything from a Paleo-style diet to intermittent fasting.
I’ve tried them all and in varying combinations. Gluten-free, dairy-free, and sugar-free. Foods with a low glycemic load. Low-carb to no-carb.
My only question: “What food is there left for me to enjoy? Ice cubes?”
PCOS is not just about my ovaries.
PCOS is realizing that every weird thing that happens to your body is probably just something else PCOS-related.
Ever heard of Pseudo-Tumor Cerebri?
Me either … at least not until I went for a regular eye exam earlier this year.
The ophthalmologist noticed that my optic nerve appeared to be swollen and bulging forward. Since I had already admitted to having frequent headaches and blurred vision, she suspected my distended optic nerve could be caused from a tumor lurking behind it. So off I went to see a specialist for further testing.
Thankfully, after several tests, it turned out that I don’t have a real tumor at all. I just have a pseudo version. A fake tumor. In fact, it’s nothing more than my brain producing massive amounts of spinal fluid.
Don’t get me wrong! This is one time I’me glad I don’t have the real thing! I’ll take a fake tumor over a real one any day. But when I was researching information on pseudo-tumor cerebri, I learned something interesting.
Women with PCOS are at an increased risk for having this strange medical condition.
It seems to me that more often than not, I discover all those weird things about my body, from the psoriasis on my face to the skin discoloration on my inner thighs, are directly related to my PCOS diagnosis.
You would almost think that PCOS is trying to define my life.
PCOS is far more than just my ovaries.
PCOS is knowing my body is broken and doesn’t work quite right.
PCOS is also knowing I am not defined by my PCOS.
I often feel like a cracked pot … broken and useless.
Perhaps you’ve heard this story before …
There was a water-bearer to a wealthy man. Several times each day, the water-bearer took two large clay pots, hung them on the ends of a long pole which he carried across his shoulders, and made the trek to the well to retrieve the water for his master’s large household.
One of the pots was in perfect condition, but the other was broken and cracked. The precious water leaked out, leaving a trail as the water-bearer carried the precious load back his master.
After noticing the this, the master asked his servant why he continued to use a broken and useless pot, saying “If you replaced the cracked pot for a more useful one, then you wouldn’t have to make so many trips to collect the water.“
The wise water-bearer smiled and said, “This is true … and yet, Master, you are wrong about one thing. The pot with the cracks isn’t useless. Have you ever noticed the flowers blooming along the side of the road leading up to your house? Those flowers are there because of the water that fell from the cracks in the pot. Each time I go to retrieve water for your family, I am certain to put the cracked pot on the side nearest the edge of the road. This way the flowers are watered Those who come to visit you are greeted by their beautiful blooms, and your maidservants have fresh flowers to adorn the inside of your house. Without the cracked pot, these things would not be.“
Where the wealthy master only saw a broken pot, the water-bearer saw something with a purpose and a job.
Cracks aren’t always a bad thing.
In the Bible, humans are metaphorically referred to as clay pots. Why is that?
- God made the first man out of clay (dust).
- Clay can be formed into something useful by a potter.
- Clay is shaped with pressure and then set with heat.
- Clay is fragile and cracks easily.
It’s that last point I want to consider with you…
If all humans are metaphorical clay pots, then it’s safe to say that we are all cracked ones. No one in this world is perfect or problem-free. We are all have our proverbial thorns in the flesh. It just so happens that one of mine is PCOS.
But the wonderful thing is that God isn’t worried about our cracks and broken places because the more cracked we are, the more evident God can be in our lives as He works in us in spite of the cracks.
Consider the words of the Apostle Paul:
But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. ~2 Corinthians 4:7
God’s treasure isn’t kept in a golden box adorned with jewels. He doesn’t store it in silver containers. It’s not even locked away in a steel vault. Rather, the treasure is found in ordinary clay pots, the very sort that easily chip and crack.
Why is that?
The answer is that if we are cracked pots, then God can show His power through our weakness.
PCOS isn’t just about my ovaries. I’ve got the cracks to prove it. But more importantly, I recognize PCOS is not the sum of me, which is why I’m learning to be grateful for the PCOS cracks in my life as I let God use them for His glory.
How has God used your PCOS to bless you? To bless others?
Are you willing to let God use your PCOS to bless others?